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Up until 1944 the different variations of Oak Leaf and Plane Tree patterns made up the majority of the official SS camouflage patterns. It wasn’t until March 1944 that the SS-Erbsenmuster pattern (also known by a few different names including Pea Dot, Dot 44 and Pea Pattern) was introduced.
The pea dot pattern starts as a base of chocolate brown over which black, light green, light tan and olive patches are placed and then over the top of them the same colours are scattered as a mass of flecks or spots.
This new SS-Erbsenmuster pattern was officially used on camouflage smocks as well as a trouser/shirt drill uniform and winter uniforms. Lastly a two piece uniform for Panzer crews was issued although unofficial field-made garments like helmet covers were produced by the soldiers on campaign.
Painting Camouflage Principles
When tackling any form of camouflage on wargames models of any scale you have to realise that you will never be able to get a spot-on copy of the pattern. Most of the time your intended design will need to be abstracted to allow ease of painting and more importantly to make it recognisable and not just a swirl of unidentifiable colours.
On 15mm figures you do not want to be messing about highlighting the camouflage as you are essentially just adding more colours to the pattern and it becomes a mess.
The key to successfully transferring a camouflage pattern to your models is being able to recognise the order in which colours need to be applied. This is especially true with patterns as complex as Pea Dot.
Transferring colours direct from pictures of the patterns onto your figures can also often lead to different colours in the pattern being too close in tone and so the pattern becomes muddy and hard to see. These colours look fine on real clothing and garments but as soon as they are shrunk to 15mm they just don’t work. Colours need to be made brighter and the contrast needs to be enhanced. Instead of a chocolate background for instance try a lighter tan colour. Instead of a dark green try using black.
By taking the pattern to these extremes of contrast you make it easier to see colours and identify patterns. It’s my opinion that for an artistic and visual hobby like miniature painting and wargaming, having models that look right and are great to look at is far more important that having properly camouflaged models.
Now comes the dots… Start with the black dots. Apply the dots all over the uniform excluding the black patches (obviously). Be sure not to make the pattern of dots too dense as you have two more layers of dots to paint on.
To ease painting the dots pay attention to how the paint is sitting on the bristles of your brush after you have loaded it, especially if you brush has a very good point to it.